Ex-Lloyds fraud fighter ordered to repay £1.2m
A former Lloyds’ security boss who stole more than £2.4m from the bank because she said she “deserved” it has been ordered to repay £1.2m or face a further eight years behind bars.
At the Old Bailey last week, Jessica Harper, 51, who was jailed for five years last September and is serving time at Holloway Prison, was ordered to repay the whole of the sum to Lloyds Bank.
Harper had been paid £60,000 a year by Lloyds Bank to fight online fraud, but exploited her inside knowledge to submit more than 90 bogus invoices during a four-year scam that ended in 2011.
Antony Swift, prosecuting, told the court the total benefit of Harper’s crime was valued at £2,469,047.70, but almost £709,000 had already been repaid to Lloyds.
He said: “The whole of the sum should be payable to Lloyds as compensation”.
Emma Lipscombe, defending, said: “All four of her properties are under offer. I don’t have any reason why repayment won’t be made. Harper has already repaid £708,000 and made every effort to repay the money.”
Presiding Judge Deborah Taylor said: “I am going to declare the benefit formally as £2,469,047.70 and record that £708,965.52 has already been repaid by the defendant.
“The available amount is £1,204,639.83, and that is to be paid in compensation to Lloyds TSB.”
Harper has six months to repay the money or face another eight years behind bars if she defaults on the repayments.
In court Harper claimed the overwhelming majority of the cash had been handed out to her friends and family who were in financial hardship. She also claimed to have given a further £250,000 to charity and to other people.
The court heard she spent the money on renovating a three-storey French townhouse, where she planned to retire, and landscaping the garden at her semi-detached home in south Croydon.
Up to £250,000 was spent on building work and luxury fittings at her chateau in La Trimouille, Poitou-Charentes, southwest France.
She also used the cash to help her three brothers – Simeon, Matthew and Gareth Tyrell – purchase a string of rental properties and holiday lettings.
Following her arrest, Harper told the police: “I just saw the opportunity and I thought: Well, maybe considering the hours I work and everything else, I deserved it.”
Sentencing Harper last September, Judge Deborah Taylor told her: “You disregarded your duties out of a sense of entitlement to take other people’s money for your own benefit and the benefit of your family.”
Harper admitted fraud by abuse of position between December 2007 and December 2011 and one count of concealing, disguising, converting, transferring, or removing criminal property between February 2008 and April 2011.
Amount Harper stole: £2,469,047.70
Paid back to Lloyds: £708,965.52
Ordered to pay back: £1,204,639.83